lineworkers

Lineworker

Lines of appreciation

April 12 is Lineworker Appreciation Day, when we take time to honor the bravery and dedication of the people who do the dangerous work of keeping our lights on every day.

It’s easy to take the luxury and convenience of electricity for granted. It’s invisible and so reliably available that we seldom give it a second thought. Even after the devastation of those southern Ohio ice storms, we took comfort in knowing that once our workers got the lines restored, those lights would go right back on, thanks to a reliable source of electricity.

Roadside crew with danger sign

Danger zones

The constant presence of road crews, traffic cones, and orange barrels on Ohio highways, byways, and township roads is a way of life for Ohio drivers.

In the wee morning hours of Aug. 28, 2019, a line crew from Lancaster-based South Central Power Company was called to address a power hazard along State Route 73 near Hillsboro. An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper guarded the zone while the crew established a new traffic path for drivers, setting cones and putting caution lights in place. As the linemen were about to begin work, the trooper confirmed that the work site met construction zone safety standards and headed out.

Project Ohio group

Powering up, powering through

Gathering a group of 16 linemen from across Ohio, leaving the security of home and family, and going to a remote part of Central America could never be considered a routine endeavor.

The day after they arrived in Guatemala, the team decided to make an impromptu stop in the village to check out the landscape of the job — to see the 67 homes and the school and get a look at the conditions they’d encounter.

Lineworker on pole

New normal

As I write to you in early April, it’s become increasingly difficult to imagine what the next few weeks will bring. I hope that this issue of Ohio Cooperative Living finds you safe and healthy and provides a pleasant diversion to your socially distanced lives.

lineworker in bucket

Co-op lineworkers: Always on

Weather forecasters knew it was a potentially devastating storm — a moisture-laden system rolling up from the Gulf of Mexico on a collision course with an arctic blast from the north, with Ohio right in the crosshairs.

“It was really just a good soaking rain that first night,” Martin says.

“We were getting a few calls, and it looked like some of our members might be out for as long as a day or two. Then when we woke up the next morning and saw it in the daylight, we knew it was a bad situation.”

linemen on a wire

Dedicated

If you’ve read this magazine for long enough, you get the idea that we respect, even admire, the people whose job it is to go out every day and keep our lights on. The lineworkers who represent each of the 24 electric cooperatives in our state are the first responders of the cooperative world. They are a dedicated, self-sacrificing bunch who do not flinch when the call goes out — any time of day, any season of the year.

Brothers Frank and Jake Wells stand together for a photo.

Linemen: All in the family

Electric cooperatives are often thought of as “family” — after all, they share common principles and a commitment to their communities that make for relationships that go deeper than just another business or utility.

Sometimes, though, “family” is literal. Line work, especially, is a profession that often sees fathers and sons or brothers, perhaps, follow in each other’s footsteps on the job. Here are some of their stories.

Always on duty

Across the state, Ohio’s electric co-ops invest in new and updated equipment to bring electricity to your home or business on a continuous and uninterrupted basis. Cooperatives engage technological advances to track the performance of our electric distribution networks and to solve problems quickly. We train our staff to be available when you need us and to resolve issues safely and reliably. Today, more than ever, our world is powered by our electric system. Yet, in spite of investments in technology, time, and preparation, Mother Nature still puts us in our place from time to time.

A fallen tree lays over the road.

Pitching in: Co-Op crews head south again

The 2018 hurricane season was a busy one in the southern part of the United States and, as always, Ohio electric cooperatives were decisive and quick to respond with aid to their fellow co-ops in need.

Hurricane Michael was particularly destructive as it came to shore in Florida’s western panhandle in mid-October and tore eastward through Georgia and the Carolinas before heading back out to sea.